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Title: The Warm Neptune GJ 3470b Has a Polar Orbit

The warm Neptune GJ 3470b transits a nearby (d= 29 pc) bright slowly rotating M1.5-dwarf star. Using spectroscopic observations during two transits with the newly commissioned NEID spectrometer on the WIYN 3.5 m Telescope at Kitt Peak Observatory, we model the classical Rossiter–McLaughlin effect, yielding a sky-projected obliquity ofλ=9812+15and avsini=0.850.33+0.27kms1. Leveraging information about the rotation period and size of the host star, our analysis yields a true obliquity ofψ=958+9, revealing that GJ 3470b is on a polar orbit. Using radial velocities from HIRES, HARPS, and the Habitable-zone Planet Finder, we show that the data are compatible with a long-term radial velocity (RV) slope ofγ̇=0.0022±0.0011ms1day1over a baseline of 12.9 yr. If the RV slope is due to acceleration from another companion in the system, we show that such a companion is capable of explaining the polar and mildly eccentric orbit of GJ 3470b using two different secular excitation models. The existence of an outer companion can be further constrained with additional RV observations, Gaia astrometry, and future high-contrast imaging observations. Lastly, we show that tidal heating from more » GJ 3470b’s mild eccentricity has most likely inflated the radius of GJ 3470b by a factor of ∼1.5–1.7, which could help account for its evaporating atmosphere.

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Award ID(s):
1907622 2108493 1910954 2108801 2108569
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal Letters
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
Article No. L15
DOI PREFIX: 10.3847
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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